With the NBA’s regular season dwindling down to each team’s final two or three games, there are only two things on most players minds now; Playoffs and Seasonal Awards. Like most of the Playoff match-ups this year, the award races are also sure to be tightly contested. Here are my picks for Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, and Sixth Man of the Year, as well as the runner up for that award.
MVP: Derrick Rose
Since he was drafted in 2008, Derrick Rose has steadily improved both his skills and his leadership, but has never been able to guide the Chicago Bulls past the first round of the playoffs. This year, however, Rose’s game has grown leaps and bounds, increasing his averages in points, assists, rebounds, steals, blocks and, most importantly, guiding his team to a number one seed in the Eastern Conference. Rose not only has the stats and the winning team that most MVP voters look for, but he also has that incredibility factor that sets him, and a few other players, apart from everyone else. His athletic ability makes him one of the most entertaining players to watch today, as you never know what he will pull off, whether that be a soft floater over the middle, or a double-clutch layup in between three defenders. D-Rose is undoubtedly this year’s Most Valuable Player, and has a great chance of being named Finals’ MVP in June.
Runner Up: Dwight Howard
Rookie of the Year: Blake Griffin
I know what you’re thinking. What can be said about Blake Griffin that hasn’t already been told by his one billion dunks this year? Well, for one, he will only get better. Griffin has the athleticism, strength, and finesse to become one of the premiere superstars in the league. His one-of-a-kind dunks and his remarkable likability have given Clippers fans a reason to cheer for the first time since Elton Brand left the team in 2008. Griffin has posted the best stats, and created the most hype for himself as a rookie since LeBron James came into the league in 2003. He leads all rookies in rebounds per game (RPG), points per game (PPG), and has had the most double doubles as a rookie in the past 40 years. He is on track to become only the eighth rookie to average at least 22 points and 12 rebounds a game, joining the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and David Robinson. As if this was not enough to win this year’s Rookie of the Year, Blake Griffin put on a great show at this year’s Slam Dunk Contest, even if he was pre-determined to win. The 2010-11 season has indeed been the Season of the Griffin.
Runner Up: John Wall
Sixth Man of the Year: Jason Terry
Today’s NBA game is influenced so heavily by reserve players that the Sixth Man of the Year Award is always a contested race. Although there are players who can come off the bench and become great scorers for their team, like Jamal Crawford and Leandro Barbosa, those players are also typically volume shooters. No one does more for their team off the bench than Jason Terry for the Dallas Mavericks. Terry is an energetic reserve who always comes into the game ready to run. He is a great perimeter shooter, as well as a solid playmaker. Jason contributes so much to his team because not only can he shoot, but he controls the tempo of the game and is a defensive mastermind. He can play three different positions and guard the best player on a team. Jason Terry and the Mavericks are also in prime position to make some noise in the Western Conference Playoffs, sitting in the top portion of the bracket in the third seed. ‘Jet’ Terry has a lot of competition this year, but has the best résumé out of all the candidates.
Runner Up: Jamal Crawford
Other than Blake Griffin and the dismal Clippers, all of the award winners’ teams will be in the Playoffs this year, and they will surely play a large role in the success, or failure, of their teams.